My beloved motorcycle, Lucy, turned 100,000 on her odometer shortly before I turned 50 this year. We’re in good shape for a couple of middle-aged broads! Our fluids have started to burn up a little quicker than they used to, but we still have that spark and enough fire under our asses to keep cranking it and moving forward.
I’ve been enjoying my love affair with Lucy for ten blissful years, now. We just click. She’s provided me with endless joy, season after season, and few unexpected troubles along the way. A couple of flat tires were about the only inconveniences I’ve had. Funny thing is, they all happened in very convenient places.
I’ve been in love with all of my motorcycles throughout the past two decades, but with Lucy, I found true love. Over the course of those 100,000 miles, I fell in love with me. I started seeing the aspects of every road trip as a metaphor and began approaching the unplanned experiences of life similar to the way I handle unexpected occurrences on the road.
Here’s what I’m talking about.
While riding through western Wisconsin on a sunny and 84 degree mid-October day, I rolled through a small town, indecisive about which road to take next. I circled through town twice, each time passing an intriguing rustic road. It had that kind of dead end feel about it however, it also followed a river and had the enticing name of Water Street. With each pass, I felt an intensifying pull striving to overpower the voice of my head, nudging me toward taking that road of uncertainty. Putting my mind on the passenger’s seat, I followed the call of my heart, turned around, and headed straight down Water Street.
I found myself absolutely elated as I traveled, enraptured by the radiant fall landscape, meandering along the river. My senses were bursting as I took in the colors and smells, felt the crispy leaves as they brushed my face and heard them crunch beneath my rotating tires. I blissfully bustled along the narrow enchanting road, ecstatic and beaming. The old worn and weathered asphalt, blatant with evidence of consecutive wet seasons and harsh winters, suddenly turned to gravel without warning. Adjusting my speed, I quickly pondered my options. I could have turned around and gone back to the predictable, well traveled highway or, taken the challenge of the gravel. I took the rough unpaved, single lane option which led me over a small senescent bridge, back onto pavement and put me right on the county road I had hoped to eventually hook up with.
The gravel roads I encounter are no longer met with despair, but with inquiry. I acknowledge them as messengers, often signaling me to slow down or examine the obstructions which may be holding me back in my “off the road” life. Sometimes they just show up as an opportunity to take on a challenge and practice being open to the possibilities of where that unfavorable road may take me.
I probably would have missed many fabulous experiences had I ignored the nudge to go ahead and take those roads of uncertainty. Although there’s something both exciting and scary about what lies ahead, when I ride, I choose to focus on exciting and that’s exactly what the experience becomes.
When I take a ride, I have loose plans−no specified route−the security of a detailed map buried somewhere in my saddle bags, and an acceptance that I will get lost or confused a time or few. I set out on my ride filled with uncertainty and excitement, knowing there will be much discovered on the journey. I use motorcycling as an opportunity to practice trusting my inner guidance to get me through the challenges that arise on the road. That inspiration is always there and always one step ahead of me. When I tune in and listen to it, it takes me back home, every time.